The farmers' perceptions of ANPS pollution and its influencing factors in Poyang Lake Region, China

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Individual farmers represent the main management entities of agricultural production under the family-contract responsibility system in China, and thus play crucial roles in the prevention and control of agricultural nonpoint source (ANPS) pollution. The analysis of the farmers' perceptions of ANPS pollution as well as the factors affecting their perceptions can provide valuable information for relevant policy-making to preserve high quality water in Poyang Lake and regional quality of arable land. Through a survey titled ‘Farmers' perceptions of ANPS pollution and farming behaviors in the Poyang Lake Region’, the data related to the perceptions of farmers on ANPS pollution were collected. The factors that affect their awareness of ANPS pollution were identified with the method of boosted regression trees (BRT). The results indicated that the farmers had awareness of the risk of ANPS pollution to some extent, but they lacked adequate scientific knowledge. Generally, they had no consciousness about how to prevent and control ANPS pollution and did not understand techniques needed for proper scientifically sound application of fertilizers and pesticides. The main factors that influenced their perceptions of ANPS pollution are (from high to low): the ratio of total income which comes from farming, per capita farmland, age, education level, and household income. Some measures targeted to improve the prevention and control of ANPS pollution were proposed: developing modern agricultural techniques and promoting large-scale farming, increasing public campaigns related to ANPS pollution prevention and control with the goal of raising the level of awareness of farmers, and reforming the methods used to promote science and technology in agriculture and encourage the proper use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

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